Do You Know What Montessori Children Like Best About Music Class?


Recently, I got out my toy microphone and became the "roving reporter" on the playground of a Montessori school where I teach music.  It was so delightful to hear the responses of the children!

Carolyn: "What is your favorite thing about music class?"

2 1/2 yr old boy: " have to shake them!"
photo from Adobe Stock

Carolyn: "What do you like best in music class?"

5 yr old girl: "I love playing the tambourine. My favorite one is pink with the green ribbon! I like to hear the jinglies..."

photo from Adobe Stock

Carolyn: "What is YOUR favorite thing in music?"

3 yr old boy: "Those sand things that you scrape together!"

photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

That child was speaking of the sand blocks that we had played a few weeks before.

Just about every child was excited to tell me how much they liked a certain rhythm instrument.  I at least expected someone to say they liked the marching with flags, or my puppets for singing high and low...but, they all thought of the instruments first of all!

In our music classes we always play some sort of instrument, usually "unpitched" rhythm instruments. 

The structure of the class goes something like this:
  • Finger, hand, and vocal warm-ups
  • Hello echo singing
  • Reciting echo rhythms
  • A Movement activity
  • The Lesson: featuring a concept, composer, genre of music, or music from a particular country
  • Instrument exploration
  • Goodbye echo song
And, believe it or not, the instrument playing part of the class lasts only about ten minutes or so...but it is by far the highlight of the musical experience!

photo from Adobe Stock

So many classroom teachers tell me that they just don't want to get out the instruments for their group because the children get so excited and things get loud and a bit chaotic! 

Yet, most everyone wants to offer children more experiences with music... and rhythm instruments are one of the best ways for little ones to "make music."

Over my many years of being a Montessori educator as well as an Orff-Schulwerk practitioner, I have tried a variety of ways to bring instrument activities to young children. I've found some real winners, too. 

First off, I personally LOVE making music! But also, I have read enough studies to be certain that young children NEED to make music. (Just look at those responses to the "roving reporter's" questions above!)

It not only makes them happier, it gives them experiences that help them develop:
  1. Their cognitive abilities 
  2. Their social abilities 
  3. Their coordination abilities 
  4. Their concentration abilities, and a whole lot more!
I have seen groups of young children develop a real camaraderie when playing instruments together. 

Amazing creative ideas surface when children are exploring a new instrument.

As children become accustomed to playing rhythm instruments, they gain self confidence and most of all, they develop a genuine appreciation of music. They not only love music, they love playing music...with others!

Even the children that choose to "observe," rather than join in, benefit from hearing the music made by their little counterparts. I often see big smiles on those observers' faces and soon they decide to join us! 

Real experiences with real instruments are the best way for little ones to internalize what music is all about. The vibrations of sound are transmitted to the child through his/her own body. The child's own hands are creating the sounds that they feel and hear.

Talk about sensory learning!

The child in the picture above was enjoying the experience of actually plucking the strings of a stringed instrument during our unit on the "Strings Family" of the Orchestra. I love how he was using both hands and really listening intently to the music he was making.

So, how can you offer young children regular experiences with instruments in your music curriculum? (and not get a headache in the process!)

~ Start with every child playing the same rhythm instrument, so that the "noise" is not chaotic sounding. This means you will need  26 pairs of rhythm sticks for a class of 24 children and 2 teachers.

~ Another part of successfully offering children experiences with rhythm instruments, is setting up the "procedures"  that you want to follow during music time.

There are so many ways to do this and it is well worth your time to decide and create these procedures beforehand, just as you do in all areas of the Montessori environment.

~ Also, choose instruments that sound nice to your ears! You might be surprised to hear the difference in the sound of one brand of maracas as compared to another. 

Even the materials that the instruments are made of makes a difference in how pleasing (or unpleasing) they are to your ear!

photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

You can learn this and more...many of my little secrets to success in your music circle...when you take my eCourse, Musically Montessori: First Twelve Weeks.

This upcoming  on-line course will give you not only pointers on HOW to enjoy music with your group but also WHAT experiences to offer your children so that they have a sequential music curriculum that builds their cognitive skills as well as their  musical abilities. 

photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

Here are two SPECIAL DEALS for you:
  • 20% discount for the first ten people who register
   USE Promo code: FIRST10 (there are still 2 of these
  • 10% discount until August 14th 
   USE Promo code: SUMMIT2016


New lesson each week

Here is the line up:
Musically Montessori: First Twelve Weeks

I am so looking forward to this Musically Montessori eCourse. And, I would love to make music with you, too!  You can check out my style of teaching at my Musically Montessori Workshop that is still available for a whole year at the Trillium Montessori Summer Summit

Thanks for visiting my blog again, and I hope you got some inspiration and lots of helpful information!

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